Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International LawThe Queen's Award for Enterpise 2012

Martin Wiebecke
Office:
Kohlrainstrasse 10
Kusnacht
8700
City:
Zurich
State:
Zurich
Country:
Switzerland
Tel:
+41 44 914 2000
Fax:
+41 44 914 2001

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Martin Wiebecke has acted as counsel, sole arbitrator, party-appointed arbitrator and chairman in more than 160 international commercial arbitrations under all major institutions’ rules, as well as ad hoc arbitrations. He also has a mediation practice and an arbitration-related court practice (annulment and execution proceedings). He is admitted to practise in Switzerland, Germany and New York. He is fluent in German, English and French and has good knowledge of Portuguese.

Why did you decide to focus your practice on international arbitration?

There was no deliberate decision on my part. I had a general practice specialising in corporate and banking litigation. The in-house counsel of a client, a commodity trader, left and I was asked to take over their arbitration cases. But in the 1990s, there were not sufficient cases to make a living from arbitration.

How has your practice evolved over the years?

Initially I acted mainly as counsel. After some 10 years, I increasingly received appointments as an arbitrator, and these now form the larger part of my practice.

What has been the most memorable case you’ve been involved in?

It is impossible to single out a specific case. Many stick in the mind for one reason or another. Cases with individual persons or states as a party tend to be more memorable.

What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge currently facing arbitration practitioners?

Making clear to the business community that certain flaws in the investor-state dispute settlement system do not apply to commercial arbitration.

How do you anticipate the practice will develop in the future?

International commercial arbitration will remain strong – there simply is no alternative (neutral forum, bilingual or multilingual proceedings, worldwide execution of awards under the New York Convention). Mediation is a good tool for solving disputes quickly and at lower costs and will increase further, but it has its limits.

The development of sports arbitration has finally led to an even level of dispute resolution for all participants in a sports event. This will continue to prosper. Returning to state court proceedings would create chaos and ultimately result in athletes who refuse to accept an arbitration clause being barred from sport events.

As for investor-state disputes, the only feasible alternative to the current system – an international investor-state disputes tribunal analogous to the IC – would be too expensive and thus unrealistic. It remains to be seen whether the new investment courts under recent bilateral and multilateral trade agreements will be able to resolve disputes properly and with the necessary expertise. However, some flaws in the ICSID system (issue conflicts, repeat appointments, etc) need remedying. I am confident that this can be achieved, as was the case with transparency.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Switzerland - Arbitration

Martin Wiebecke is admitted to practise in Switzerland, Germany and New York, and before the US Supreme Court.

He has acted as counsel, sole arbitrator, party-appointed arbitrator or chairman in more than 160 international commercial arbitrations under the rules of the ICC, LCIA, Swiss Chambers, DIS, VIAC (Vienna), Stockholm Institute, AAA, SIAC, MKAS (Moscow), CAS and other institutions, UNCITRAL, and in ad hoc arbitrations.

He also has domestic arbitration and mediation experience, and an arbitration-related court practice (annulment and execution proceedings).

His arbitration experience includes, in particular, mergers and acquisitions, shareholders' agreements, joint ventures, privatisations, foreign investments, infrastructure and development projects, construction and engineering, automotive, oil and gas, energy and natural resources, mining, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, biotechnology, telecommunications, technology transfer, licence agreements, patents, IP, insurance and reinsurance, banking and finance, tax, defence contracts, disputes involving states and public entities and enterprises, agency, distribution, and sale and purchase agreements. He is on the panel of arbitrators of various arbitral institutions (such as ICC, LCIA, VIAC, ICDR/AAA and WIPO).

He was a member of the EU Commission's expert group on the interface between the Brussels I Regulation (Regulation 44/2001) and arbitration.

He is a frequent speaker at international conferences and seminars and a past chairman of the international sales commission of the Union Internationale des Avocats.

Martin Wiebecke was educated at the Universities of Freiburg (BA Economics, 1979); Geneva, Göttingen (JD, 1983); and Basel (lic iur, 1986); and at Columbia Law School (LLM, 1984).

He is fluent in German, English and French, and has basic knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese.

WWL says: Martin Wiebecke has a "tremendous reputation for the high quality of his work", handling matters from a broad range of industries as part of his “high­-calibre” practice. 

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Switzerland which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Martin Wiebecke is admitted to practise in Switzerland, Germany and New York, and before the US Supreme Court.

He has acted as counsel, sole arbitrator, party-appointed arbitrator or chairman in more than 160 international commercial arbitrations under the rules of the ICC, LCIA, Swiss Chambers, DIS, VIAC (Vienna), Stockholm Institute, AAA, SIAC, MKAS (Moscow), CAS and other institutions, UNCITRAL, and in ad hoc arbitrations.

He also has domestic arbitration and mediation experience, and an arbitration-related court practice (annulment and execution proceedings).

His arbitration experience includes, in particular, mergers and acquisitions, shareholders' agreements, joint ventures, privatisations, foreign investments, infrastructure and development projects, construction and engineering, automotive, oil and gas, energy and natural resources, mining, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, biotechnology, telecommunications, technology transfer, licence agreements, patents, IP,  insurance and reinsurance, banking and finance, tax, defence contracts, disputes involving states and public entities and enterprises, agency, distribution, and sale and purchase agreements. He is on the panel of arbitrators of various arbitral institutions (such as ICC, LCIA, VIAC, ICDR/AAA and WIPO).

He was a member of the EU Commission's expert group on the interface between the Brussels I Regulation (Regulation 44/2001) and arbitration.

He is a frequent speaker at international conferences and seminars and a past chairman of the international sales commission of the Union Internationale des Avocats.

Martin Wiebecke was educated at the Universities of Freiburg (BA Economics, 1979); Geneva, Göttingen (JD, 1983); and Basel (lic iur, 1986); and at Columbia Law School (LLM, 1984).

He is fluent in German, English and French, and has basic knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese.

WWL says: Martin Wiebecke has a “tremendous reputation for the high quality of his work”, handling matters from a broad range of industries as part of his “high-calibre” practice.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.

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